ladyem89

Hi Everyone...Any advice?

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Hi everyone, 

My name is Emma. I am 23. I just graduated college and have been struggling with my weight loss journey for years. I was hoping to get your advice. 

In 2013, I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I went through years of being completely unstable. I was in and out of hospitals and through those experiences, I was put on so many different mood stabilizers and other medications, all that have huge side effects of weight gain. Since being diagnosed I have gained over 120 lbs. I have been trying various diets and exercise for the past couple of years and have seen some but minimal weight loss. I am currently taking Victoza as an appetite suppressant, but I am feeling so frustrated knowing that no matter what I do, I can't seem to sustain the overall loss. I have been considering a gastric bypass, mostly because I am just tired of not being able to move my body the way I want to. It is so hard thinking you look a certain way and seeing a completely different person in the mirror. My confidence and overall self esteem has been completely changed throughout this process, but I am hopeful that I will be able to come out on the other side of this journey an even stronger version of myself. 

I am concerned about the bypass. Even before my diagnosis, I have always struggled with weight and had an addiction to food. I am an emotional and binge eater. However, since being stable for the past 2 years, I have gotten healthier, more balanced eating patterns. I am concerned that if I get the bypass, I still won't be able to lose the weight and I will have messed up the way I take in food forever. I also worry that I won't be able to drink wine or have pizza ever again (my favorites). Is there a way to have a healthy relationship with food,  and still indulge once you have the surgery? 

Honestly, I am just really scared. If anyone can offer advice about the process for someone who is just starting to consider this option, I would very much appreciate it. 

xo,

Emma

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Hi Emma welcome to Thinner Times.  Sorry to hear you have been struggling with so much.  Have you considered the sleeve?  I was set for the Bypass but changed it the day we scheduled the surgery and I am glad I did.  I have reached goal but am going on to lose a few more pounds but I can drink wine and eat pizza !!  In moderation anyway.  I was the type of eater that ate large portions and ate out of boredom. 

You will lose weight with either surgery but the sleeve has less complications. Good luck on your journey !

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My suggestion, take its for what it is worth.  Don’t indulge til you get to goal weight.  If pizza is brought in to work, I strip the toppings off and eat a couple of pieces with the cheese and toppings.  I get a taste of sauce.  We do make a whole wheat crust at home when we do homemade pizza.  I view alcohol as empty calories.  For a few years alcohol made me extremely ill.  I hate wine, don’t Like beer.  I was able to drink a summer shandy beer this summer.  But alcohol hits me much faster now.  There is also transfer addiction to watch out for..  alcohol will often cause weight regain.  Just something to think about.  

There really isn’t much I can’t eat, but then I ask myself if I really should eat it...I have never regretted my decision..good luck..

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14 hours ago, ladyem89 said:

I went through years of being I also worry that I won't be able to drink wine or have pizza ever again (my favorites). Is there a way to have a healthy relationship with food,  and still indulge once you have the surgery? 

Yes. Just yes. I had a gastric bypass and (now that I am at maintenance) I have a glass of wine (or two :rolleyes:) almost every night and have a big slice of pizza about once a week. 

BUT, during the weight loss period in the ten months or so after a gastric bypass one has to follow a healthy low protein diet without alcohol (or pizza).  It is fine though as the surgery forces one to have a more healthy diet. 

I have never regretted having a gastric bypass. Life at my goal weight is great, and I can eat almost any food in moderation as part of a healthy diet. 

We are here to support you. 

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Hi Emma, sorry you've been struggling, but yes, you can have a healthy relationship to food after surgery. 

In my first year post-op, I was like a drill sergeant with myself - I really only ate healthy food, super low carb, no "treats." I got to GW pretty quickly, probably thanks to my black-or-white eating style for that year - most people aren't that strict with themselves. I feel like that year gave me some time to build good habits and flex my just-say-no-thanks muscle. I can just say no to anything now.

After I got to GW, though, I've been able to ease up quite a lot - it's very easy now to just have a bite of something once in a while instead of eating a ton of it. Pre-op, pizza and wine were my weekly (twice weekly if I was being indulgent, or maybe thrice weekly?) go-to feel-good meal. Now, I can eat a slice of pizza if I want, but that's all I can really eat, and I only eat it if it's good pizza. I don't feel bad about that, though: once slice fills me up, and I don't want more. I drink wine maybe once a week (used to be every night, but between worrying about addiction transfer and not wanting empty calories, once a week is OK with me). A 3oz glass of wine is enough. Occasionally I will have two, if I'm at a party or out to fancy dinner or something. That would previously have been my license to have a lot more. If there's something special I want to eat, I give myself permission to have some, but I stop with a small portion. And I don't eat things I don't REALLY love - I'm not a fan of birthday cake, but would always have some before because, hey, cake, and everyone else is. Now, I just say no thanks and don't worry about it. If I don't really love it, I don't eat it. Junk food just doesn't hold the same attraction it once did. I feel like that part of my brain that was just really focused on food has been turned off.

As for the bipolar thing, there are several other people here on the forum who can give you information about that - I'm hoping someone chimes in.

Best of luck to you. I wish I'd done surgery when I was your age instead of waiting and losing and gaining and losing and gaining for years.

 

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22 hours ago, ladyem89 said:

Is there a way to have a healthy relationship with food,  and still indulge once you have the surgery? 

For those of us who have struggled a lifetime with food and weight issues, I think WLS is the ONLY way to have a healthy relationship with food and most of us can still indulge in our favorites once we reach maintenance.  I had some of the same fears and can honestly say there is nothing at all I have missed.  Food just doesn't hold the same level of importance anymore.

I was 51 when I had my surgery and will soon turn 55 (yikes!).  Sometimes I am envious of those who have the WLS option at a young age like you but I can also see how it must be more scary at your age.  I mean "forever" is a lot longer for you lol.  However, it is a beautiful gift you are choosing for yourself.  Imagine the damage to your joints that won't happen because you chose to be healthy.  Imagine all the wonderful things that WILL be possible with your new healthy self.   You are going to rock this!! 

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17 hours ago, msmarymac said:

For those of us who have struggled a lifetime with food and weight issues, I think WLS is the ONLY way to have a healthy relationship with food and most of us can still indulge in our favorites once we reach maintenance.  I had some of the same fears and can honestly say there is nothing at all I have missed.  Food just doesn't hold the same level of importance anymore.

I was 51 when I had my surgery and will soon turn 55 (yikes!).  Sometimes I am envious of those who have the WLS option at a young age like you but I can also see how it must be more scary at your age.  I mean "forever" is a lot longer for you lol.  However, it is a beautiful gift you are choosing for yourself.  Imagine the damage to your joints that won't happen because you chose to be healthy.  Imagine all the wonderful things that WILL be possible with your new healthy self.   You are going to rock this!! 

I'd like this post a million times over if I could.

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23 hours ago, msmarymac said:

For those of us who have struggled a lifetime with food and weight issues, I think WLS is the ONLY way to have a healthy relationship with food and most of us can still indulge in our favorites once we reach maintenance.  I had some of the same fears and can honestly say there is nothing at all I have missed.  Food just doesn't hold the same level of importance anymore.

I was 51 when I had my surgery and will soon turn 55 (yikes!).  Sometimes I am envious of those who have the WLS option at a young age like you but I can also see how it must be more scary at your age.  I mean "forever" is a lot longer for you lol.  However, it is a beautiful gift you are choosing for yourself.  Imagine the damage to your joints that won't happen because you chose to be healthy.  Imagine all the wonderful things that WILL be possible with your new healthy self.   You are going to rock this!! 

 

5 hours ago, cinwa said:

I'd like this post a million times over if I could.

I totally agree, as usual, with @msmarymacand @cinwa

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On 9/13/2018 at 5:36 PM, ladyem89 said:

.... I have always struggled with weight and had an addiction to food. I am an emotional and binge eater. However, since being stable for the past 2 years, I have gotten healthier, more balanced eating patterns. I am concerned that if I get the bypass, I still won't be able to lose the weight and I will have messed up the way I take in food forever. I also worry that I won't be able to drink wine or have pizza ever again (my favorites). Is there a way to have a healthy relationship with food,  and still indulge once you have the surgery? 

Honestly, I am just really scared. If anyone can offer advice about the process for someone who is just starting to consider this option, I would very much appreciate it. 

xo,

Emma

Emma, most everyone on this Forum was an emotional eater. Binge eating would also be common. Having an healthy relationship to food involves breaking the cycle of emotionally binging away. This is not rocket science, nor is success uncommon. WLS changes your metabolism and the physiology of your hunger: once hunger is out of the picture, and you have size restriction, it's very easy to only eat small portions ...  you are satisfied with way less. You learn to prioritize eating what you need to stay healthy and what tastes good. You can indulge but instead of indulging by eating a huge amount, you indulge by eating well. Quality over quantity. I'm clearly at the extreme, but I belong to food and wine societies (as I did before my surgery) and enjoy myself a lot. I'm only 18 months out but am finding this is NOT hard to do. It just requires a (relatively small) amount of awareness.

There is no scientific evidence that dieting will help the vast majority of people change from being obese to normal weight. Dieting works in way less than 1% of people. People who diet are constantly hungry and have abnormally slow metabolisms, both of which make keeping weight off nearly impossible. I had a BMI near or at 40, and now my BMI is 25. The number of people who can diet to those numbers and maintain the weight loss is less than 1 in a thousand. In other words, dieting does not work, and there are good reasons why it fails. 

In contrast, there is abundant evidence that WLS leads to very substantial weight loss in the majority of people. Most everyone benefits. Look up the success statistics and/or talk to a bariatric surgeon. My personal experience is that the uncommon person who regains all their weight usually has emotional or psychological issues that were not dealt with. Some people regain weight during extreme stress. It is good you are self-aware of your own circumstances, and you should be cheered by the fact that many many people with bipolar disease have successfully lost weight and maintained the weight loss. 

Both of the above paragraphs are based on actual numbers and science. Rarely have I made good decisions in life when I was frightened and scared. I think you have good reason to thing you, like most other people, have a good chance of success with WLS. By that I mean > 90% success. Urge you not to be scared, but to carefully identify your strengths and weaknesses and how you could shore up the places where you need may be not as strong. 

_____________

I had pizza on Friday - but what I really did was have one bite of the tip of the piece, confirming that the topping was good and the crust was ... boring. I scraped off the topping and ate that. Could I have eaten 1 or 2 pieces of pizza? Yes. But could have eaten and wanted to eat are different. Only the topping was really worth eating. 

Can you drink wine? Yes, but it is a lot of "empty" calories. I drink wine every day, having had a sleeve and not a bypass. You have to be accountable to yourself and be honest, and that includes alcohol. 

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On 9/16/2018 at 11:07 PM, BurgundyBoy said:

[...]

Both of the above paragraphs are based on actual numbers and science. Rarely have I made good decisions in life when I was frightened and scared. I think you have good reason to thing you, like most other people, have a good chance of success with WLS. By that I mean > 90% success. Urge you not to be scared, but to carefully identify your strengths and weaknesses and how you could shore up the places where you need may be not as strong. 

 

There's a lot of wisdom in these paragraphs (as usual)! Emma, this is the real deal. 

My two cents: at this point (18 months out) I am working on the emotional eating. I am lucky enough not to have had any complications with the surgery, and I can pretty much eat anything I want, just not much at once. That's both a blessing and a curse, as you can imagine. I think the work you have already done on creating a stable eating pattern (yay you!) will serve you well after surgery. The first few months are different, because you are "starting over" and then slowly introducing other kinds of food. But after a few months you will be back on "normal" food, just less of it and emphasizing healthy food. An occasional treat shouldn't be a problem. 

It sounds like you are really thinking this through, and that's great. That makes a good WLS patient. Feel free to message me (or anyone else, probably) if you want to chat. 

Good luck! You'll be OK.

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